Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sign of success that comes with using Morgan PR

When so many traditional pub signs are vanishing, The Hare & Hounds at Speen proudly unveiled its new sign during a recent charity day in aid of Swings and Smiles, and after owner Jonathan Nelsey contacted Morgan PR everyone now knows the story after we helped to get it published in the local media.

The sign was designed by renowned cartoonist and retired Colonel, Chip Wood following a chance stay at the hotel.

“I love the way Chip turned the fortunes of the traditional hunting theme," Jonathan says. "Now the hounds are waiting on the hares. Being a country lad, I wanted mostly to create a traditional sign using the theme of the Hare and Hounds, and too give it a bit of fun. I’m delighted with the result and hope it will be the face of the Inn for many years to come.”

Swings and Smiles is the Hare & Hounds at Speen’s nominated charity and the recent event was held to mark the completion of extensive refurbishment at the historic inn which has brought its 30 bedrooms up to three star standard.

Pictured above is the owner of the Hare & Hounds at Speen, Jonathan Nelsey (left) with Sian Cook from Swings and Smiles and Peter Baker, a trustee of the charity, with the new pub sign.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Newbury photographer the talk of the town

The power of a good image is something Morgan PR has talked about before and not least when exploring the excellent work of Newbury's awarding winnng photographer Giles Penfound.

His work will be seen by millions this summer after he was commissioned to create the images for a new poster campaign for the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.

We are proud to work with Giles and today a story about his poster campaign has been published on Newbury Business Today. You can also learn more about his work on Giles Penfound's website.

Surely the easiest thing to do is to publish the posters here on the blog and you will quickly understand the impact these powerful photographs can have. Hands up who wants to go to Greenwich?

Giles created these images below to bring home that the National Maritime Museum is about more than all things nautical to a younger audience.

Finally, seeing the images here on the Morgan PR blog is one thing, but how fabulous does the poster look in situ on the Tube at Knightsbridge?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not such a silly Moo...

If you are LinkedIn and have recently logged on you cannot fail to have noticed the plethora of adverts from funky print house Well with a seemingly too good to be true 'free' offer for 50 business cards for LinkedIn members I clicked on the link...

Bar a few bugs what followed was a blissfully simple interface that took me from design to completion in very few steps and Moo were soon assuring me that my cards were on their way.

Fittingly for free cards I opted to use them to promote West Berkshire's premier networking organisation - namely the Newbury Business Group - and went for the line 'There is such a thing as a free breakfast..." on one side, taking Moo up on their randomised background offer. On the flipside I explained more about the group and gave contact detail numbers for both the group and myself.

Just a few days latter the cards arrived and have proven a hit with those I have handed out with firm committments to come and visit the group when we come back after our summer break.

They also impressed fellow members at our final meeting this side of September, which was held earlier this morning amid much well wishing for a prosperous summer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barefoot Medicine and acupuncture for children

“People do not really think of treating children with acupuncture,” explained Simone Davis of Barefoot Medicine as she delicately applies a needle into a toddler’s back as the child’s mother looks on, free of anxiety knowing her son is in very good hands.

A veteran of numerous acupuncture treatments I am not squeamish about this, but do feel honoured to see such a talented practitioner at work. Morgan PR was meeting Simone for the first time in order to write a feature for the forthcoming August edition of Newbury Business Today.

The child is clutching ‘Acu Ted’ who is actually a rabbit, but very cuddly and when one paw is squeezed a child’s voice exclaims: ‘I’m poorly, I need some acupuncture’. When the other is squeezed ‘Acu Ted’ confirms: ‘I’m all better now!’ Simone Davis rightly thought the toy would help soothe youngsters’ worries about the needles – although they soon discover it does not hurt.

Simone actually trained with another acupuncturist who has featured on this blog, Julia Stanbrook, as she explained: “I was originally a patient of Julia Stanbrook of Naseby Needles and became very interested in acupuncture, so much so she encouraged me to train. When Julia emigrated earlier this year I was delighted to welcome all her patients into my clinic. In fact, I felt quite honoured that in true Chinese tradition, my mentor of so many years passed on her 12-year-old business to me."

Simone can treat children and adults for a host of conditions, and her expertise as a herbalist allows her to combine treatments for greater efficacy. You can learn more about her services by visiting the Barefoot Medicine website, or by reading Newbury Business Today on August 7.

Manufacturing alive and well in West Berkshire

Spend more than a few minutes on the business pages of any of the broadsheets and you would be forgiven for believing that the UK was devoid of any manufacturing operations. So Morgan PR was heartened this morning to visit Norma UK at New Greenham Park, the former airbase turned sprawling business park near Newbury.

Norma UK is a name that motorists familiar with passing New Greenham Park on the A339 will instantly recognise as it adorns the company's large office and manufacturing centre based there. Although I suspect few will realise that many cars, perhaps even their own, will contain precision parts engineered in that building.

In fact, the company, which is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, operates across 60 countries, encompassing 24 subsidiaries and 15 manufacturing facilities. The company has approx. 3,300 employees and offers in excess of 35,000 products.

The managing director of Norma UK is Mike Lawrence, who explained what Norma UK does. He said: “We are the manufacturing part of the Norma Group and we specialise in clamping and connective products. We count among our clients many of the most prestigious names in the automotive industry, including BMW and Jaguar – all the top vehicle manufacturers will contain components designed and engineered here in Newbury.

Norma UK is thriving: in the eight years since Mike Lawrence (pictured above within Norma's modern factory) was appointed turnover has trebled and the company is still growing and always looking for the right kind of people to join over 200 employees based at New Greenham Park. The modern premises were purpose built two years ago; prior to that the company had been in Bone Lane, Newbury.

For those who like to support local businesses, remember in the DIY store to ask for either a Norma or Terry worm drive hose clip when the temptation is to use the seemingly generic term ‘Jubilee clip’. Norma and Terry clips, both made by Norma UK, outsell the rival ‘Jubilee’ brand, but people often call them by the wrong name!

Mike Lawrence is just one of the businessmen Morgan PR has been meeting for a forthcoming feature on New Greenham Park

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Morgan PR in sponsorship deal at Deanwood Park Golf Course, Newbury

If you happen to be playing golf at the Deanwood Park Golf Course do pause on the 8th tee and admire the sponsorship efforts of Morgan PR!

Pictured above is the sign that we came up with - or rather we thought of but it was graphic design guru Matt Lloyd who realised, while pictured below are all the companies who sponsored tees at the golf course near Newbury at a reception held to mark the gesture.

It is also the photograph that has today been published on the Newbury Business Today website, which explains how each company has designed an advertisement that will be displayed at their chosen tee for the next year, with the option to change their signs to promote specific events or to match the changing seasons.

Deanwood's General Manager, John Bowness said: “We felt the tees were the ideal location for such sponsorship as players will spend time on each tee before playing the hole and the deals have also raised money which we can re-invest in our continuous improvement of the facilities here.

“The response has been excellent and the opportunity to sponsor the tees was quickly snapped up by the various companies, many of who already play here at Deanwood – or are just about to start!”

The sponsors in addition to Morgan PR are ActionCOACH, Cameno, Dontex Systems, Kaizen Systems, Copy Shop Newbury, Speedy, Lewis Electrical and Horsey Lightly.

Together with the high profile among thousands of golfers, sponsors also enjoy preferential access to golf at the club or use of the conference facilities there.

Morgan PR director Diane Morgan commented: “Deanwood is a popular course among business owners and professionals and we are confident many of these will respond to a well crafted promotion on the tees. We pose the question to players about how they make sure they stand out against the competition?”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Look after your back for the future - wise words from Hungerford Chiropractic Healthcare

I found my posture improved dramatically today as I took shorthand notes during an interview with Louise Saunders, Doctor of Chiropractic. Maybe it was being in the well appointed clinic that is home to Hungerford Chiropractic Healthcare, although more I suspect it was guilt in the face of this lady's passionate belief in her profession.

She enthused: "There is a common misconception that Chiropractic is just about backs; in fact it has a direct effect on the nervous system that drives and controls every cell in the body. The performance of the nervous system determines our quality of life.

"Chiropractic can have a hugely positive impact on a person's wellbeing not just on the symptom that may have prompted them to seek help. The mobile bones of the spine house the spinal cord, the vital communication link between the brain and all other parts of the body".

"Gravity, poor posture, and increased stress of modern life, leads to areas in the spine becoming restricted, interfering with the communication and correct functioning of the nervous system. This can lead to an array of symptoms such as headaches and joint or muscle pain".

And definitely guilt, if you are slouching at the keyboard as you read this! Or in my case as I took the notes for the feature on Hungerford Chiropractic Healthcare for the next edition of Newbury Business Today. I defy anyone who reads the interview with Louise not to feel a twinge of responsibility for your body.

I suspect I shall be seeking an MOT from her very soon!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Curry and an art exhibition... Newbury Business Group on cultural tour

Just over two weeks ago we wrote about an astounding exhibition by award winning photographer Giles Penfound entitled 'Skies' at Newbury Greenham Arts - if you missed it you can catch up here.

Well an invitation snafu meant that the only members of the Newbury Business Group, to which Giles belongs, to turn up were a handful who had discussed it with him personally.

Simply not good enough! Over the last few weeks we have rallied the troops and last night a much more respectable number were treated to a private viewing of this remarkable collection.

Naturally, the proximity of New Greenham Arts to the New Greenham Tandoori made migrating there after the exhibition very straightforward so the fun carried on until the small hours - indeed the staff brought out ice lollies ('to remind us we had kids' they half joked).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wellbeing for Work pays dividends on health and profits

From improved attendance to greater productivity, not to mention the long term health benefits, there is a growing recognition that a fit and healthy workforce can make a difference to the bottom line, and Wellbeing for Work is a company at the forefront of this revolution.

Founded by entrepreneur Sam Fuller (pictured here) and following the success of Absolute Nutrition. Indeed it was through her work as a highly successful nutritionist with two practices that she became aware the majority of her clients came from the corporate sector and were often sedentary office workers spending long hours behind their desks, going from meeting to meeting.

Morgan PR met Sam earlier today to learn more about Wellbeing for Work for a feature we have been commissioned to write. She explained: “This sedentary lifestyle was causing them high stress levels and exhaustion. These symptoms were really impacting on their work life balance and when I spoke to the businesses involved I realised there was a solution – and Wellbeing for Work was born.

“Our Health and Wellbeing programmes provide a fresh new approach for early intervention and prevention of ill health at work. We aim to improve employees’ mental and physical capacity for engagement and performance and help them to recognise the value of self management of health during demanding times."

Backed up by testimonials and more importantly facts and figures on attendance and productivity it is clear that companies will soon have to heed the expert advice of people like Sam Fuller. Of course those who truly care about their employees may wish to make contact even sooner.

It was Newbury Business Group... only different.

The Newbury Business Group is the foremost independent networking group in West Berkshire - we do not seek to profit from our members nor cash in on the abundant referrals and collaboration that it encourages, so it was an honour to be asked to chair this mornings and indeed next week's meetings while the chairman, Mark Arrowsmith from Snappy Snaps, is on holiday.

Unusually we did not have a 10 minute slot today where the group benefits from a masterclass from one of its members, so it gave me the opportunity to mix things up a little... The premise was simple: you introduce the person to your left before they do their one minute presentation and introduce the person to their left - and so on it would go.

Immediately it started quite the chattering kerfuffle as some members sought to reassure themselves that they actually knew what it was the person sat to their left did for a living. Which with the exception of the guests was a little alarming, after all surely we all know what one another actually does?

With Search Engine Optimisation supremo Chris Turberville-Tully from Inspiration Ink sat to my left I have to admit my task was a simple one, but everyone managed the task, even if some took considerably longer than others to manage a simple introduction, with one of two opting for a practical eulogy! Indeed Robin Winnett, from Kaizen Systems, practically had me in tears!

Special mention must surely go to Mark Furneaux from Lestac Services, who managed to give a terrific introduction to guest Alex Knapp from CIS Assessment having only met him for a few minutes.

With so much fun and frolics it was little wonder we ran past 9 o'clock this morning, however the universal opinion was positive. So, next week fancy dress?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We're LinkedIn... are you?

Naturally a healthy online profile is important for any business and this is probably why I originally joined LinkedIn sometime last year... and then did absolutely nothing with it. With sites like this blog and our own website achieving a good profile within Google searches it was easy to dismiss what seemed to be facebook without the annoyance.

However, over recent weeks LinkedIn has hit the headlines repeatedly and more and more people were pinging me to ask if I would 'join their professional network in LinkedIn.

Perhaps most significantly the LinkedIn raised $53 million for a sliver of the business and promptly valued it at $1bn. Which sounds crazy, but this is no internet start up. The website boasts 23 million members and is growing by 1.2 million new members each month.

So I have been devoting a set time each day to building my profile and believe it is now really rather respectable, with a growing number of recommendations from clients and business partners and a healthy number of connections. What is fascinating though is the momentum that has built with relatively little effort and that continues to build my profile.

And don't dismiss LinkedIn as another MySpace or facebook, it is a business tool beyond its networking facade and allows for company searches. You can profile staff, establish churn and of course get introduced to the online movers and shakers within companies through your own burgeoning network. It is clever stuff.

Then there is Google, which has been invited to crawl LinkedIn and now happily returns my profile among the various hits when people search for 'public relations, newbury' and suchlike.

Freely offering expertise to the myriad of questions that are posted on the site is another excellent way to boost your profile and follows the same abundance model that we employ offline.

I have heard about the companies on LinkedIn who encourage their staff to spend a specified amount on time on the site every day, to ensure their business stays at the forefront of searches. I can see why.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Recruitment advice from the heart of the Square Mile at Le Petit Square in Newbury

Talk about the Law of Attraction, no sooner do I blog about Le Petit Square and its new chef, then I find myself in the centre of Newbury needing somewhere suitable for a lunch meeting with recruitment guru and fellow Newbury Business Group member Mia Drennan.

Morgan PR has written about the company she founded, Square Mile Connections, numerous times in the past and secured publication of press releases about the company too, however, I was keen to follow up a generous invitation that Mia had made at a recent NBG meeting to freely offer the benefit of her considerable wisdom.

With Morgan PR on the brink of appointing two new members to the team it made sense to hear from Mia if we were on the right track... and thankfully it would seem we are, in no small part thanks to the business coaching we have been receiving and of course we must have paid attention during Mia's talks at NBG.

Beyond the simple calculation over whether you can afford a new member of staff it is important to consider how the creation of that post contributes to your vision, and the short, medium and long term goals for the business. The next step is ensuring that the recruitment process is suited to finding the right person - and just as importantly ensuring you don't pick the wrong person.

The terrific bonus of talking about Mia is that while Square Mile is used to finding the right candidates for often senior roles within the banking and legal sector, the wealth of expertise that this has brought can be applied to remarkable effect to most recruitment processes.

When business is good and schedules are busy there can be short-sighted savings in simply focusing on the job in hand and not investing in learning. Now obviously we do invest that time, but how much richer was I for lunch today (and naturally we paid!) ? More importantly, how much poorer would I have been?

New chef at Le Petit Square in Newbury

Morgan PR was recently retained to represent Le Petit Square, one of only two restaurants in Newbury to earn the coveted 'Highly Recommended' accolade from Michelin - and the other is sister restaurant The Square!

First order of business was to promote the arrival of a new chef at the Market Place restaurant and today that has been published online at Newbury Business Today.

When most of us are exposed to an unhealthy diet of Gordon Ramsay swearing his way through what might otherwise be good television (the exception is the US version of Hell's Kitchen where those wanna be executive chefs deserve to be more than sworn at most of the time!) it was refreshing to meet the blissfully calm John Cowan.

Or as owner Suzanne Hemchaoui put it:"John impressed us with his vision and flair in the kitchen, he is a good leader and is the calmest chef I have ever known and seems totally unflappable, but most of all he produces outstanding and delicious food.

"His new menu has proved a real hit with our regulars and has prompted some enthusiastic comments from first time visitors our French Bistro, ‘Une petite partie de Paris au coeur de Newbury'."

As a nice touch we entitled the press release that went out as ‘Communiqué de Presse’ which seemed fitting for a French bistro, especially one where 75% of the customers will order in French too!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rapid Response at Hungerford Carnival

At Morgan PR we keep joking that we really should be in the parade at Hungerford Carnival, and then we are inevitably humbled by the sterling efforts that those who actually are taking part have made - yesterday was no different and we made do with cheering, clapping and emptying our pockets into the passing charity buckets.

Speaking of charity, it was rewarding to see all four of the West Berkshire Rapid Response Cars (WBRRC) in the parade - Morgan PR is one of the sponsors the Hungerford car and you can see our logo proudly displayed on the back of the car (normally seen when the emergency vehicle races past en route to save lives!). We were also able to support it further during its recent auction with a £250 winning bid for dinner at The Vineyard in Stockcross

We have personal experience of how important this life saving service can be and are always quick to tell people that this service, often the difference between life and death pending the arrival of an ambulance, is funded entirely by donations, including many local companies such as ours and not least Ridgeway, the local Volkswagen dealership which has provided all fours cars

The facts are sobering, each month the WBRRCs respond to around 80 calls, providing lifesaving emergency services throughout West Berkshire – and sometimes further afield.

Thankfully the carnvial was free of emergencies and the cars were able to move a steady 2mph for the crowds to express the generosity - although one paramedic on foot seemed to be the target for every water balloon thrown!

Also in the carnival were Little Jogs, Hungerford's leading nursery and clients of Morgan PR. The Little Jogs Big Top wowed the crowds with some remarkable feats for pre-schoolers! A special mention must surely go for Ringmaster Elena Allen, seen here in the foreground of the photo below.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Le Mans beckons for Newbury Businessman

We will soon be moving to new offices and Roger Hick of RhD Office will be the office interiors expert Morgan PR will be asking for advice on how best to accommodate our team in the 800 square feet provided.

However, the excitement of new premises hardly compares with the excursion has has planned for the weekend - he is taking his 1960 Alpine Renault to the Le Mans Classic at the invitation of Renault who want to exhibit his vintage car!

The least we could do was help promote his adventure locally - here on Motoring in West Berkshire and in next week's Newbury Weekly News you will be able to read all about the trip, no doubt including the two laps of the famous circuit he will be taking.

Here is Roger and 'Claudette':

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

4Networking in Newbury

Another day another network breakfast! Well not quite daily, but after the Faringdon Business Breakfast Club on Monday and with Newbury Business Group on Friday, it feels a little like that! Not least as I was asked to act as a sub at BNI Kennet tomorrow, but have a prior appointment. Back to today I was at the Hilton Newbury North for 4Networking Newbury to see how this flourishing group worked.

Readers with long memories may recall I was at the original launch of a 4Networking group in Newbury in May 2007 where I was quite enamoured with the group - read all about it here - however that group crashed and burned over some internal problem.

Version 2.0 however is thriving and as I have said before the 4Networking model is an appealing one. The obligatory 'one minute presentation' is actually 40 seconds and the killer app is the three one-to-one meetings you can have. Each lasting 10 minutes it effectively turbo charges the part of networking so easily glossed over that involves actually understanding what it is that person does.

My first such meeting was with Julian Wellings from Expertise on Tap. He had given the informative 'foursight' 10 minute presentation on email newsletters, highlighting good practice and warning of the dire consequences of amateurish attempts at this affordable marketing tool. Our meeting gave us the opportunity to explore where the synergy could be between Morgan PR and Expertise on Tap, which for me is as important in networking as the referrals that it can bring.

Next I chatted with David Whittingham from Media Fusion a full service agency in Newbury. Once again it was about the value we could add to one another clients.

Finally I spent 10 minutes chatting with Philippa Syme, Development Manager at The Corn Exchange & New Greenham Arts and was fascinated to discover how affordable and relatively unique the opportunities are for promotions at the Corn Exchange and to its diverse audience.

So as you can tell, a very busy morning indeed. Some things did grate. It is held within the main restaurant of the hotel which while providing easy access to the buffet breakfast, it was shared with other guests and quite noisy, which meant it was difficult to hear people and it was also an odd L shaped table which made it tricky to enjoy eye contact with some members, however there was a good atmosphere and I would go again when the Morgan PR diary allows.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Please speak after the tone? Not with call handling service Verbatim

Who among us has not despaired at being prompted to leave a voicemail message, immediately unsure when or even if it will be checked? And how often is an important voicemail message apparently never received?

Here at Morgan PR we are proud to use local Newbury company Verbatim to ensure that people do not have to leave voicemail messages or indeed hear an engaged tone when they call us. Admittedly out of hours you have the option of leaving a message that is promptly emailed to our data hungry Blackberrys, but experience has taught us not many people call out of hours!

So we were interested to spot this story on Times Online which illustrates the frustration that people have with voicemail, explores some high tech solution, but completely misses the opportunity people have to use companies like Verbatim to ensure their callers never have to speak after the tone!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Discovering The Secrets of Great PR over breakfast at the Faringdon Business Breakfast Club

Networking is key to the success of many businesses and Morgan PR is among those breakfast warriors who shun the embrace of goosedown for the scent of bacon and a referral.

One of the groups I regularly attend is the Faringdon Business Breakfast Club, which meets on the first Monday of the month at the Faringdon Enterprise Gateway Centre, and this morning I was responsible for the education slot, and offered 'The Secrets of Great Public Relations'

I guess the real secret is that there is no secret ingredient, to borrow from one of the summer's blockbuster movies. The reality is that every business out there is brimming with stories that would capture column inches or airtime. This presentation was about giving hints and tips on how to spot and exploit their opportunities.

Questions, as they often do, focused on blogging. Business owners can grasp PR and marketing, search engine optimisation and so on, but blogging is still on that fringe (albeit a very large fringe indeed) of 'you know you really should, but you're not sure you could'. I know it works! This blog works and the fact you are reading it now is proof it works!

The caption competition almost stumped the group and it was left to guest and Business Link Advisor Rob Banfield to come up with a witty line for the photo below of a clearly gruelling occasion from my Thames Valley Police days. What was it? That would be telling and besides, I use this caption competition quite often when I give this presentation!

He scooped a box of ultra fresh eggs from the Morgan PR chickens, another cracking idea from the foremost public relations company in the Thames Valley!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Morgan PR learns some meditation to quieten the mind at The Ammerdown Centre

Personal development is absolutely key to success in business and one of my favourite quotes from Jim Rohn is: "Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job", and it was these wise words which led me to the Ammerdown Centre this weekend to learn about 'Meditation - to quieten the mind'.

I first encountered meditation in Thailand almost 20 years ago and dabbled some more at the Perth Meditation Centre in Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia in 2002 and Morgan PR has even written about local meditation in a variety of articles.

However, there is a big difference between a class or writing an article and immersing yourself for a long weekend with the guidance of a talented teacher such as John Preston, who was taking the weekend's course.

John worked for many years as a senior social services manager, counsellor and lecturer in adult education. Then he spent five years training as a monk at a Buddhist meditation monastery and returning to lay-life he now traches meditation as an entirely secular practice promoting personal growth.

Over the weekend our small class learned different techniques which began with basic calming through to techniques to help you concentrate and cut out the chatter that charges in to interrupt novices such as myself.

We also looked at Mindfulness, which is all about the development of awareness. You can try this at home - just try and focus on something as simple as brushing your teeth, totally - or mindfully. Think of nothing else, only what you are doing, how it feels. I can manage about six seconds before my mind interrupts and exclaims: "I'm being mindful" and of course I am no longer focused.

Part of the course involved learning about Vipassana, which is more awareness mediation rather than the concentration approach previously mentioned. In practical terms this was about accepting the myriad of thoughts your mind throws up and letting them pass by without indulging in more detailed thought. That is simplistic, but it was powerful stuff.

We watched a video showing how Vipassanna was used with one of the largest prisons in India. It was quite remarkable to see the difference it had on inmates, many of whom were still on remand awaiting charges after several years. This involved a 10 day silent retreat within the prison and involved some heavyweight meditation with apparently remarkable results. Apparently it has been tried in the UK too but Google isn't giving that one up yet.

Also worthy of a mention in dispatches was fellow student Jo, who runs Yogology, the superbly named website for her Yoga and Kinesiology classes she runs near Bath. She is also a Reiki practitioner.

It was an excellent and rewarding weekend. Ammerdown is a really peaceful location and well suited to the course I was on. Praise indeed must go to John Preston who deftly handled a mixture of motivations among those of us attending the course.

Something he said on the first evening has stuck with me: "Meditation is not about achieving a state of relaxation; it is about accessing the calm already within."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

'Skies' by Giles Penfound at New Greenham Arts, 3 July - 1 August 2008

'Skies' is the stunning new exhibition by local award-winning photographer Giles Penfound and Morgan PR was lucky enough to be at the opening of the show at New Greenham Arts at New Greenham Park near Newbury this evening.

Giles has taken photographs for Morgan PR many times now and we are always delighted with the results - and hasten to add the clients are inevitably blown away too!

With commercial jobs delivered to such a high spec it is easy to forget that Giles is so much more and the myriad of sky shots, taken by simply looking up above Newbury and seeing things that we all take for granted, prove just how talented this photographer truly is.

It is testimony to how powerful these images are that they still work when resolved into pixels on a computer screen; you can see many of the Skies images on Giles Penfound's website.

Sheepdrove Eco-Conference Centre proves perfect for Morgan PR planning

Much as brilliant public relations does not happen by accident, neither does the burgeoning success that Morgan PR is enjoying. Both take more than a little careful planning and we took the day out today to do just that - plan.

More specifically the next 90 days. Those familiar with the world's number one business coaching company ActionCoach will know that the concept of breaking down your goals into 90 day segments is an essential first step to achieving not only your annual goals, but those more distant five, 10 and even 15 year goals (yep, we have them all!).

So with phones diverted to Verbatim, the premier call handling service that we use, we heading across to the Sheepdrove Eco-Conference Centre near Lambourn to spend a day plotting immediate future of Morgan PR.

We had opted for a surely unique conference facility - The Rook's Nest, which is a round room within the red coloured tower pictured above and it is kitted out with sumptious sheepskin bean bags that somehow prove adept at getting the creative juices flowing.

Although after a sumptious lunch bursting with flavour and all sourced from Sheepdrove's organic farm, the bean bags were tempting for a less productive snooze. However, no such option was allowed for we were joined by our business coach, Sally Rainbow-Ockwell for the second half of the day, offering her considerable expertise to test our plans for the future and hone them to more aspirational and yet achievable outcomes.

Sally is pictured below with Diane from Morgan PR clearly thrilled with the tremendous targets we have set ourselves! That or the comfort of those bean bags!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Talking PR with leading chartered building surveyors Easton Bevins

Morgan PR provides public relations and web services to Chartered Building Surveyors Easton Bevins and has done for almost a year now; so it was a delight to be given the opportunity to address the whole company earlier today at a team training day.

How many businesses would have the courage and foresight to take the entire staff - and I mean everyone - for an away day? Easton Bevins had closed its offices in Bristol, Cheltenham, Swindon and Newbury and brough everyone to the Tortworth Court Hotel and just speaking in the morning it was clear how much of a team atmosphere there was and how comfortable everyone felt with one another. I mean Morgan PR is doing much the same later this week, but there were 30 there from Easton Bevins, there'll be a few less at our team day at Sheepdrove on Thursday.

We were talking about the importance of good public relations and the contribution that the team at Easton Bevins can make by helping to identify the stories and opportunities that they will be encountering simply by delivering their professional services.

We also spoke about how successful the flooding advice website had been and that traffic had spiked recently when we had more localised flooding, showing it still has relevance.

There was some lively discussion over blogging with quite a few people in the room curious as to how it would work for a company like theirs. Where to start? With such a big and geographically and professionally diverse team they could spread the challenge of maintaining a blog, allocate people to their specialisms and very quickly would create a context rich database of article that Google would rush to.

The speaker before Morgan PR was talking about sustainability, which did instill some guilt at stomping a ruddy great carbon footprint on the 130 mile round trip to the venue. However, on the bright side, looking at the Fair Shares Fair Choice website we were directed to, it would seem my own footprint is already respectably low - even I 'must try harder'.

Learning about business with ActionCoach

Morgan PR's involvement with ActionCoach began at the Regency Park Hotel in Thatcham in October 2005, when I attended a seminar to write a feature about the business coaching company; last night I was back there for the 2008 equivalent, only this time I was introducing the speaker, Sally Rainbow-Ockwell.

It was really good to have the opportunity to talk about the help she has given us to a group of people who are exploring the potential of business coaching; not least as I recall the bubbling cynicism that I bathed in the first time I encountered the group. Oh how times change!

We had over 20 people at the event and there was an element of 'Newbury Business Group at Large' with quite a few delegates coming from Newbury's foremost networking group. Ever the professional networkers though they neatly spread themselves around the room.

Robin Winnett from Kaizen Systems, Suzanne Goodland from Integrating HR, Karen Chapple from Irun Solutions, David Lewis from Dontex Systems, Michelle Lucas from Greenfields Consultancy, Carl Wheatley from The Bridge and Kate Taylor from The Virtual Business Team were NBG members at the seminar. Also there with Morgan PR clients Inspiration Architects and Proport Eco-Sevice's Antony Straszewski was there too, and you'll recognise that name from this entry in last week's blog

Among the other businesses we know were Kevin Rayner and Ali Rayner from Rayner Diesel, Tracy Clements from Strategic Office Services, Graham Chapple and Darren Boyce from Applinet and Donna Byatt from Why Not Jewellery.

It proved a lively seminar - which is testimony to Sally's skills as a presenter because the hotel's air conditioning was faulty and we had been encouraged to 'open the windows'; it left the room stuffy and sticky on a humid evening!

Plenty of the group have taken the opportunity to book an appointment with Sally in the near future... which would be the next step on a remarkable journey.